FRISCO - The cynical Dallas Cowboys observer has an easy and snarky response to defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence's midweek proclamation regarding stats and goals.
“I’m not here for numbers,'' Tank said. "I’m here for a Super Bowl.”
OK, cynic, fire away: "Well, DeMarcus, you're in the process of achieving neither.''
The Cowboys are 2-7, and that rightly comes with harsh criticism; if a team loses 78 percent of its games, shouldn't 78 percent of the analysis of that team be negative?
Meanwhile, the Pro Bowler Lawrence's raw statistical numbers are similarly unimpressive: He has just three sacks.
And no, three sacks in nine games is not the sort of total generally associated with a $20 million APY player.
What we as critics should include in our analysis, however: Lawrence has continued his long-standing habit of playing hard while playing hurt. Tank has a rich "football warrior'' history of doing this, regardless of the finances involved.
This year, it's a knee problem that in some games has caused the coaching staff (and the training staff) to limit his staff. But the suggestion from critics that Lawrence's effort is shrinking now that his bank account is swelling is inaccurate and irresponsible.
READ MORE: Jerry - ‘Recognize Tank’s Heart’
"The main thing we found out (before making a financial) commitment on him, is that heart inside him,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently said. "You’re talking about a guy that will give you everything he’s got, and he’ll give it all day long.''
Know this: Jerry's view isn't the result of Jerry's film-watching; it's the result of Jerry asking his coaching and personnel staffs for their opinion, and then morphing it into his own.
And it's the accurate opinion.
That doesn't mean Lawrence or anybody else on this 2-7 club has played especially well. But - dumping the cynicism for just a moment, as Cowboys players are obliged to do - that also doesn't mean that "playing well'' is impossible going forward.
"Don't ever get this twisted: We're a good team,'' Lawrence insisted. "It's all about winning games at the end of the day, but we're a good team. Seeing how other people are playing and stuff, I don't think we're far behind at all. ... We can make a pretty good run."
Lawrence believes the Cowboys team that he said "lacked backbone'' a few weeks ago has made progress in that and other departments.
"I feel like we're a different team, we're playing totally different, energy is totally different," he said. "I feel like our feet are underneath us, we're starting to play with more a football IQ and understand more of what our coaches want from us and we're going out there and playing hard."
"Playing hard'' is a constant for Lawrence. But that "run'' he's talking about truly isn't about stats or the Super Bowl. It's about Sunday at Minnesota team led by spectacular running back Dalvin Cook ... and a chance for Tank's Cowboys to silence the snarky cynics.